Whale watching in Clayoquot Sound. Photo © Peter Schulze.
Breaching orca © Jim Darling
Whale watching is one of the most popular activities for visitors to Clayoquot Sound. Since the first whale watching company opened in the 1970s, businesses offering ecotourism experiences have expanded steadily to meet the demand by visitors for quality, safe and enjoyable wildlife encounters.

Besides being an exhilarating experience, whale watching provides opportunities for us to educate visitors about the importance of marine conservation and instill an awareness and appreciation for the natural environment and the creatures living in it. Large whales are ambassadors for countless other species struggling today in oceans impacted by overexploitation, pollution and global climate change.

Basking shark in Sydney Inlet © Jim Darling
Gray whale blows © Jim Darling
Clayoquot Sound offers a rich array of marine wildlife against a backdrop of picturesque fjords, sandy beaches and majestic mountains. Humpback and gray whales are the most often observed large whales in the region. We also frequently see orcas and harbor porpoises. Whale watchers may encounter sea otters, sea lions, eagles, sea birds, and even black bears on the beaches foraging for crabs.

Tofino's whale watching companies offer a variety of boat sizes and types and trips of different duration, so it is easy to find a trip to suit your group. All whale watch operators comply with published Whale Watching Guidelines established by Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

Many of the whale watch boat drivers carry a camera along to document the wildlife they see. This website is the result of contributions from several drivers, local residents and researchers. Anyone photographing a new humpback whale or matching a whale in our catalog will be appropriately credited.

Gray whale close up © Jim Darling
Great Blue Heron © Jim Darling, 2006
Further Reading:

WDCS and Whale Watching (Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society)


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